I just re-read The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, a novel many of us probably read in childhood, or we know through the various adaptations for stage and screen that have been made over the years.
Mary is a spoilt young child who was brought up in India but when she was orphaned she came to live with her Uncle in his huge house in Yorkshire. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms and at night, Mary hears the sound of
crying down one of the long corridors.
Mary starts to explore the grounds f the house and discovers a locked secret garden, surrounded by walls.With the help of a local boy, Dickon, she discovers a way into the garden and the two of them start to bring it back to life. When Mary discovers that it is her cousin Colin who is crying at night, she and Dickon start to take him out into the garden.
This is a story of how nature can help young people to develop skills and recover their health after illness. It's beautifully written and some of the descriptions are wonderful, the robin that inadvertently leads Mary to the entrance to the secret garden is particularly well portrayed:
"The robin flew down from his tree top and hopped about or flew after [Mary] from one bush to another. He chirped a good deal and had a very busy air, as if he were showing her things."
This is a wonderful book to revisit or read for the first time in the strange times we're living through. There's a good review of the book and a recent television adaptation on the Guardian website here.